There was much jubilation among the youth and the upper middle class section of the city of Trivandrum when Mr.Shashi Tharoor was elected as MP from the constituency in the last gen.elections.Much was expected when he was made the Minister of State for Ext.Affairs.Nobody had doubts regarding his worthiness of the post. This eminent diplomat, writer and orator par excellence had captured the imagination of the people.But,after all the euphoria, it baffles one to think about the kind of mess that he has managed to land himself in, neck deep that too. Now since the smoke has subsided after his resignation, let’s do a recap.
Right from the time of his ascension to power, he has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The 'Cattleclass, holycows’ remarks, comments on the visa regulations, the 'Interlocutor' episode (asking Saudi Arabia to be the interlocutor between India and Pakistan)...........it’s a long list. Apart from his five star accommodation at the time of UPA's austerity drive, all were triggered by the Twitter comments of this hi-tech diplomat turned politician (no wonder the media called it 'Twittergate' when Lalit Modi opened a can of worms in his twitter which finally shot Mr.Tharoor down).
So, the question is, who’s to be blamed? The media for making a mountain out of a mole hill? The dirty game called Indian Politics? The ultra sensitive and ignorant Indian public that lacks the knowledge to digest English idioms and phrases, as some bloggers point out?Or,could it be.....I mean, is there any chance that it could be....er.... Mr.Tharoor's fault itself!? Why is it that, of all the issues, he stumbled upon the IPL, the Indian Paisa Loot (P.Sainath's coinage)?
To be frank, Mr.Tharoor has not been able to come up with a point by point rebuttal of the allegations heaped upon him by the opposition and the media. Instead he chose the denial mode. Even in his speech in the parliament, instead of giving specific answers to specific questions, he banked on his oratory skills to bail himself out.Worse, he even played the Kerala card by stating that what he did was in the interest of the state. Was this the new brand of politics that he offered to herald?. Quoting poetry from Vallathol in the parliament exhorting the pride of Kerala was just not enough.There were questions that need to be answered.
Well, you know what they are.The 'Sweat Profit' issue, his phone call to Lalit Modi asking him to stop enquiring about the whereabouts of Kochi IPL team owners……..The devil is in the details, you see! If his hands are as pure as he claims, why not come out and rubbish these allegations? Why spoil a chance to prove his integrity and mettle?
If he was genuinely moved by the crying needs of the ‘God’s Own Country’, what prevented him from putting in a word at the centre for the preservation of the Public Distribution System (PDS) of Kerala? After all, a minister of State would have some powers, wouldn’t he? Or, is it because Rice lacks glamour when compared to Cricket? Why not speed up the Kochi Metro Rail Project? Why IPL? It seems that the man got his priorities wrong big time. And it proved fatal for him.
Nothing can take away the hope that he generated in the initial stages of his campaign as minister. Sure, we need politicians who are transparent and who can keep their channels of communication with the public open. May be, we even need politicians who tweet religiously!
After 60 years of independence, we still are a conservative country. There’s bound to be some resistance when someone steps out of the trodden path. But what disappoints me the most is the fact that Mr.Tharoor fell not by being new or true, but by being typical. He didn’t resign on his own, but was forced to go. He didn’t defend himself by facts, but by rhetoric. New brand of politics, anyone? Till IPL it was Tharoor, the new politician Vs conservative Indian Polity. But after IPL, dear folks, it’s the same old story.
Well, I still don’t believe it’s the end of road for him. There’s always scope for amends. If he’s willing to give some thought to what and where went wrong and re-prioritise his agenda, there’s still hope for a come back. The promise of change can still be fulfilled. Take those steps one by one, Mr.Tharoor, for they’re slippery. But that’s what Indian Politics has always been.